City breaks ground on Exit 298 Waterline Project
Fallon Godwin-Butler, Elko Daily Free Press
ELKO — In what many City officials and staff described as a long time coming, the Exit 298 Waterline Project officially broke ground Monday morning, allowing for future growth around the Interstate 80 intersection on the west end of town.
“It will promote and facilitate development by providing the water that hasn’t been available in the past,” said Ryan Limberg, City of Elko utilities director.
The waterline will run approximately 1.5 miles to Sundance Drive, providing City water to the Exit 298 area — near Joy Global and the Newmont parking lot. Developments in the area are on private systems at this time.
The project has been in the works for nearly two years and will be an ongoing process.
High Mark Construction was the low bidder at approximately $1.47 million. The construction period is approximated to last 120 days, said Limberg.
Greater development will be enabled through this project.
“The City will have a lot more inventory once we have this project complete,” said Councilman Reece Keener, explaining to the Free Press he is excited to see this project get underway.
Newmont Mining Corp. and Barrick Gold Corp. contributed $200,000 each. Kenner and Limberg highlighted and thanked both of the mining companies for their contributions.
“We know that it’s important for economic diversification in the Elko area and this is a great place for there to be new construction and new projects,” said Lisa Becker, an external relations representative for Newmont, explaining this will be “good for the future of Elko.”
“We’re happy to be of help for Elko,” said Maria Anderson with Barrick’s community relations.
Barrick’s contribution is to help with the grading of the roadway, she said.
The Redevelopment Agency was instrumental in reaching out to the mining corporations for funding.
Pam Borda, executive director of Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority, said she has been working with the City for about the last five years to “get Exit 298 to be extended as part of the City and then developed as an industrial park.”
“When they started trying to get the waterline out here and started budgeting they didn’t have enough funds in their water accounts,” she said, explaining what started the fundraising process and how the money could not simply come from anywhere.
Keener said the help from the City’s “mine friends” has not only brought up the timetable on the project, but they also understand how imperative the industrial space is to making the land viable for development.
Some development has even moved away from Elko due to the impracticality of industrial expansion in the area, according to Keener.
As the project progresses, City water in the area will go from limited service to increasing the volume of water provided for the area.
Additionally, vacant and developed property owners will be contacted as annexation for the City continues.
Coupled with annexation and providing greater access to City water on sections of property — or anticipated city property — the waterline project is planned to be a “decades long build-out,” said Assistant City Manager Scott Wilkinson.
“It’s a great project,” said Mayor Chris Johnson.